Superman: The Animated Series (1997) – Action Figures, Double Dose and Solar Power

On 20 September, 1997, Metallo (Malcolm McDowell), last seen lost in the depths of the ocean, strides ashore in Action Figures. And that could spell trouble for Superman (Tim Daly).

However, it seems the cyborg is suffering from some sort of amnesia when he shows up on a remote island, where he is cared for by two children, who see him as a larger version of the toys they play with. Their father, Professor Felix (Ernie Hudson) is studying the volcanic island on which they are living, but things may come to trouble if Metallo recalls who he is, and if the volcano erupts!

To remind the audience who Metallo is, there’s a nice news update from the “where are they now” files.

With the children at his side, he does some good, but soon, begins to recall who he is, and exploits the good will, and the beliefs of the young kids.

Lois (Dana Delaney) is conducting her own investigation when she learns a metallic hero saved a trucker, but Superman suspects something more troublesome and flies to the island to look into things himself.

I think, if the story had decided to go a little darker in terms of Metallo’s exploiting and betraying the children it may have had a little more impact. For all that, the story plays fairly well, and McDowell is wonderfully insidious as always, and Metallo seems tailor made for him.

Of course, the episode ends with a knock-down drag-out fight between hero and villain, and Metallo is stopped, and his fate left up in the air, once again.


Double Dose, which aired 22 September, 1997, sees a team-up of villainy menacing our resident Kryptonian.

Livewire (Lori Petty) escapes from her prison cell, and pairs up with the Parasite (Brion James) with a plan to exact her revenge on Superman once and for all.

Now seems like a great time to stop, and revel, once again, in the amazing voice casting by Andrea Romano. The calibre of actors that show up in this animated series, like Batman before it, is amazing.

What does strike me as odd in this story is that Parasite so quickly agrees to help out Livewire. I mean as soon as she shows up in his cell, she promises him a taste of her powers if he helps her, but all he has to do is touch her…

Perhaps his drive for revenge overrode his common sense. Of course, when he does make a move on her, later in the episode, she sends him reeling, but it should have come earlier in the story.

Still, it’s always cool when villains team up to take on Superman, and our hero needs to adapt his strategy to not only deal with one baddie, but two, knowing that they have a plan to take him on.

Even as he outwits them, the baddies turn on one another, making it easier for Supes to defeat them, once again.

Sure Metropolis may get trashed on a regular basis, but it seems its citizens are fairly safe with Superman around.


The final episode this week is Solar Power and sees Robert Hays return as Edward Lytener aka Luminus. Airing on 26 September, 1997, this is yet another story of another villain seeking to exact revenge on Clark, and he just might have a plan to take away Superman’s powers for good!

Whatever Lytener is up to, seems to be working, because Clark is finding his powers growing weaker. He still has to take on Lytener however when Lois is used to bait him.

The reveal that Lytener has co-opted one of Luthor’s (Clancy Brown) satellites to augment portions of the atmosphere so that only red light gets through, draining Superman’s powers, as he is powered by the yellow light of the sun.

As his power weakens, Superman is forced to deal with Luminus without his abilities. The villain is holding Lois and Jimmy Olsen (David Kaufman) as hostage, preventing Superman from leaving the atmosphere to recharge his strength.

Superman goes after his friends, and eventually finds a way to best Lytener, returning the sun’s yellow rays to the Earth, reclaiming his powers, and saving the day.

There’s also a nice moment when Lois and Jimmy play on the old, it’s a bird, it’s a plane riff…

Until next time… up, up and away!




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